The Average Turkish Tourist in Greece

turkish touristsA bus full of Turkish tourists, had just departed from Alexandroupoli. It was filled with bags, some of which contained soil from areas of northern Greece, where their ancestors used to live. Others were overflowing with new things: toys, clothes, even images of saints from the historic churches of Thessaloniki. The bus’ storage space was filled to the top and the driver complained in good humor, “There is no more room for your bags!”

This happened just last week but it is a common phenomenon with Turkish travelers. “The shelves of a famous toy store in Alexandroupoli were literally empty when the Turkish tourists left” said Nermin Yusufoglu, who works with Turkish travel agencies to organize trips in Greece.

She also notes that depending on whether the shops are open or closed during their visit to Greece, the average per capita expenditure for Turkish tourists is at least 500 euros just on store purchases, not taking under account the living expenses. Another fact that shows the financial standing of Turkish tourists who visit Greece is that a typical “tip” at a restaurant is 10-20 euros.

She continues: “The Turks traveling abroad are usually of very high economic and educational status. The poor Turks simply cannot afford to travel abroad. In order to get a visa they must present a series of data to the consulate: data on their job, their deposits and at least two property titles in their name.”

The average age of the Turkish tourist coming to Greece is 25-45 years old, but there are also some who are over 80. “Most of them come from Istanbul and Izmir. If they come once, they tend to come again and again to the point that I now know them by their first names,” says Nermin who often comes in contact with visitors from the neighboring country for the last ten years.

Why do they come to Greece?
“Seven out of ten come to visit areas where their ancestors used to live. They arrive in these villages for example Kozani or Ptolemaida and try to find their parents or grandparents’ homes and when they leave their eyes are swollen from crying. They bring bags with them, which are filled with Greek soil, to take back to Turkey with them,” Nermin comments.

The remaining 30% visit Greece for shopping and recreation. In any case, 80% of all Turkish tourists visit historical sites and monuments, showing a strong interest in Christian churches and all religious sites and seem to show interest in Meteora.

Have you asked Turkish tourists how they feel when they visit a Christian church?
“Yes, I often ask them when we leave a church because when they go in, they light candles, they don’t speak, just listen. One time a lady told me she feels like she does in a mosque because the church is a house of God as well,” recounts Nermin.

How do they feel when they come to Greece?
“Some people tell me that after the issuance of their visas they feel fear but once they arrive in Greece they immediately forget about it. They say that the politicians have caused damage to the relations between the two countries. They come to Greece and completely change their opinion, they always leave so excited. They return to their country and actually advertise Greece: for its people, its beauty and its products. I feel that this is the impression they get.”

Do they comment on the Greek economic crisis?
Nermin recounts a certain incident: “I was in Tsimiski Avenue in Thessaloniki along with eight Turkish women doing some window shopping. At some point they saw some shoes they liked and decide to purchase 2 pairs each! It was a quarter to three and the store manager was still inside. I told her that the women would like to buy a total of 16 pairs of shoes, with an average price of 150-180 euros per pair. The manager showed us the clock and told us she couldn’t help us. One of the Turkish women who is an economist and professor at a Turkish university, told me: “Isn’t this supposed to be a country in crisis? If you want to exit the crisis, you must have the will and desire to work.” According to Nermin, the store working hours is an issue that preoccupies Turkish tourists.

All these years, doing this job, have you ever encountered any extraordinary incidents?
Nermin remembers one of the oldest Turks she met in her line of work. He was an 87 year-old former teacher from Bursa whose father originated form Kozani. His students bought him a three-day trip around the Balkans as a gift. When they reached Greece, the tourist group passed from an area near his place of origin. When the group left to return to Turkey the old man couldn’t stop thinking about that place. He decided not to return. He called his son and asked him to come so they could visit his father’s village. He went there and spent time with the locals; he found his father’s house and an old family watermill. Now he is writing a book and he says that when and if he finishes he will go back and give it to the locals who so warmly welcomed him to their village.

“Another incident involved a Turk and a Greek, both professional drivers. The Turk had reached the port of Igoumenitsa but he didn’t know how to reach his destination which was Naples in Italy. He didn’t speak any Greek or any other language for that matter. But in the end he met the Greek driver who helped him. “This happened 17 years ago. I met the Turkish driver because of my work and he told me: “The Greek driver who helped and didn’t just leave me there became my brother. After that I learnt Greek just so I could speak with him…” she recounts. Nearly two decades later, the two men still keep in touch and visit each other during their travels.

The increase of Turkish tourists in Greece is also confirmed by statistic data. According to the Thessaloniki Hotels Association (THA) during the first semester of 2013, there was a 50.10% increase in overnight stays of Turks in Greece compare to the previous year. Meanwhile, Turks ranked third in the list of foreigners who visit Thessaloniki right after Russians and Cypriots.
(source: ana-mpa)


  1. Do Turkish tourists visit the Greek island of Chios? A large number of their Turkish ancestors visited Chios in 1822. Here is a short account of their stay on the island.

    A Turkish fleet under the Kapudan Pasha Nasuhzade Ali Pasha arrived on the island on 22 March. They quickly pillaged and looted the town. On 31 March, orders were given to burn down the town, and over the next four months, an estimated 40,000 Turkish troops, including convicts,arrived. In addition to setting fires, the troops were ORDERED TO KILL ALL INFANTS UNDER THREE YEARS OLD, ALL MALES 12 YEARS AND OLDER, AND ALL FEMALES 40 AND OLDER EXCEPT THOSE WILLING TO CONVERT TO ISLAM. Approximately three-quarters of the population of 120,000 were killed, enslaved or died of disease. It is estimated that 2,000 people remained on the island after 21,000 managed to flee, 52,000 were enslaved and 52,000 massacred. Tens of thousands of survivors dispersed throughout Europe and became part of the Chian Diaspora. 

    The Venizelos-Samaras Junta is rewarding their behaviour by building a mosque for illegal muslim immigrants in Athens on Turkish Prime Minister Erdogans request.

  2. The only tourists that should be beat up are FYROM’ian Maggots

    If Turks come and keep their heads down and don’t cause trouble they are welcome

  3. This reminds me what is happening in the American Southwest where bus loads of Mexicans enter the country to do shopping and dining, as their impoverished country has few of the luxury items, quality and values. In this case Turkish agents posing as tourists were along to reconnoiter the ports, roads for a possible invasion/reuniting with mother country someday. No doubt many Turks got stuck behind before the buses departed.

  4. I saw some statistics once and remember that during the winter months the Greek tourism is sustained by land via Albanian, FYROMian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish tourists. The Balkan tourists don’t spend as high as summer tourists but Turks do spend well because they like to go out and eat/shop. Also Turks in Thessaloniki tend to stay in 5star hotels more than the others.

  5. “After the Russians and Ukrainians, MACEDONIANS are the most frequent guests to Solun. They are most numerous during weekends, coming for shopping. There are no available data yet whether and how many apartments they have bought since halving of the real estate prices due to the crisis in Yunanistan,” Solun Mayor Yiannis Boutaris (Vlach) said Tuesday at a press conference in Skopje.

  6. Soon FYROM Fantasy Land will be Rubble and Hell on Earth, you have signed your own Death Warrants when you push Greece . . Greece is not some Micro-Nation like FYROM to be pushed around.

    We are prepared more than any country on Earth outside of USA/Russia for full-scale War . . you FYROM’ian Maggots do not even have a single Fighter Jet.

    20,000 Greek Regular Army + 500 Special Forces + 50 Fighter Jets + 150 Leopard HELL Tanks + 500 Artillery Units which is a little less than 1% of total Greek Military can take FYROM within a Week.

  7. ” They arrive in these villages for example Kozani or Ptolemaida and try to find their parents or grandparents’ homes and when they leave their eyes are swollen from crying. ”

    Typical leftist idiocy. The author of this ridiculous author seems to have glossed over the minor people their ancestors INVADED Greece. Also missing is the minor point of the pograms ejected Greeks from lands in Asia minor. Constantinople used to be almost entirely Greek and now nearly no Greeks live there.

  8. In the 1990s,Macedonians speak a
    language codified in 1946,spoken by less than two million people, and with a
    very slender literature. They are members of an Orthodox Church whose authority
    was established by a socialist political regime in 1968.They are heirs to a
    1903 revolution that until the 1940s was described by almost all sources as
    being Bulgarian.

    “The history of the Balkan
    Peninsula” Ferdinand Schevill page 432

  9. “We have nothing to do with Alexander the Great. We are Bulgarians who came here in the 6th Century AD.” – Gligorov, President of FYROM

  10. That’ll just make Greece look more like Nazi Germany and Macedonia like Poland, so go ahead, be the Nazi.

  11. “Greece won’t need any more bailout packages”- George Papapndreou, Prime minister of Greece, 2009
    I guess politicians never lie huh?

  12. That was a weak comeback. Gligorov wasn’t asking for money or handouts. He was letting his people know, the ones who elected him, that FYROMIANS have nothing to do with Alexander and are ethnically bulgarian. Why would the elected leader of FYROM lie?

    Little georgie the half-greek wanted more money and had a reason to lie to keep the creditors happy. What was Gligorov’s reason?

  13. My point was not to compare the legitimacy of the statements, but to show that politicians are almost hardwired to lie in order to get the people’s (Papandreou) or the World’s (Gligorov) support. Just as Papandreou lied to get the creditor’s money, so dId Gligorov in order to get the country recognized, and look at it now, 135 countries recognize it as the “Republic of Macedonia” while only 17 recognize it as “FYROM”. So in the end, does the end justify the means?

  14. Point taken. We can thank Samaras for most of that. Either way, the skopjians will not exist as a nation within a generation. They will be absorbed into greater albania as was Kosovo.

  15. Greece just signed a deal to recieve 90 M1A1 Abrams tanks. Greece already has 353 state of the art Leopard 2A4 and Leopard 2A6 tanks. You got the fighter jets inventory wrong. It’s not 50. Greece has 206 state of the art F16’s and Mirage 2000’s type fighter jets. Unfortunately the Venizelos-Samaras Junta will never deploy these against Skopia. On the other hand if Golden Dawn is elected to govern Greece then Skopia will likely experience a fiery end. To be honest Greece doesn’t need to do anything about Skopia. In 20 years the Slavs will be a tinu minority in Skopia and the ethnic Albanian majority will demand separation. Skopia will then dissolve either peacefully or via renewed civil war. The Albanians tried civil war round one in 2001.

  16. Greece just signed a deal to recieve 90 type M1A1 Abrams tanks. Greece already has 353 state of the art Leopard 2A4 and Leopard 2A6 tanks. Greece has 206 state of the art F16’s and Mirage 2000’s type fighter jets. 32 modern AH64 Apache helicopter gunships, the list goes on. When Golden Dawn is elected it will be highly likely that Skopia will find itself on the merciless deployment of all this firepower, with a fiery end to the pseudo Skopian state. Other than that the Skopian Slavs will soon be an insignificant minority in Skopia and the ethnic Albanian majority will demand separation. No way out for the Skopians. Game over. The clock is ticking.

  17. The Clock is ticking my friend, I don’t agree with GOlden Dawn Politics but if War ever comes to Greece, Golden Dawn will be a major force to be reckoned with.

    They are the perfect choice to train in Guerilla tactics such as IED’s, ambushes, Car Explosives etc

    Guerilla’s will be critical in any future War and Golden Dawn will be best at this

  18. We’ll divide the land between us. The remnant communist government there will be eradicated, they helped divide the Serbian nation too.


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